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Special Education Excess Cost Cooperative

Jan 27, 2020 - less than 1 minute

This one-pager from the School and State Finance Project details a solution to the unpredictable special education costs many of Connecticut's municipalities and local school districts annually face. Known as the Special Education Excess Cost Cooperative, this special education finance system allows the state and local governments to share in the costs of special education students with extraordinary learning needs.

While students with extraordinary learning needs represent a small segment of Connecticut’s public school population, supporting these students with the special education services they need and deserve frequently results in high and volatile costs for towns and school districts. These services are often referred to as “excess cost” services because the cost of providing them to a student is at least four and a half times the district’s net current expenditures per student, which qualifies the district for partial financial reimbursement through the State’s Excess Cost grant.

Using a cooperative-type model, the Co-op makes special education excess costs predictable for districts and towns, allowing for better budget planning. The Co-op achieves this predictability by aggregating special education excess costs together at the state level to leverage the fact that, on a statewide basis, special education excess costs are predictable, even though they are frequently volatile at the district level.


School and State Finance Project. (2020). Special Education Excess Cost Cooperative. New Haven, CT: Author. Retrieved from


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